A dazzling - and already prizewinning - collection of essays on youth and aging, ambition and disappointment, Katherine Mansfield tourism and New Zealand punk rock, and the limitations of the body.
Youth and frailty, ambition and anxiety, the limitations of the body and the challenges of personal transformation: these are the undercurrents that animate acclaimed poet Ashleigh Young's first collection of essays. In Can You Tolerate This?—the title comes from the question chiropractors ask to test a patient's pain threshold—Young ushers us into her early years in the faraway yet familiar landscape of New Zealand: fantasizing about Paul McCartney, cheering on her older brother's fledging music career, and yearning for a larger and more creative life. As Young's perspective expands, a series of historical portraits—a boy who grew new bone wherever he was injured, an early French postman who built a stone fortress by hand, a generation of Japanese shut-ins—strike unexpected personal harmonies, as an unselfconscious childhood gives way to painful shyness in adolescence. As we watch Young fall in and out of love, undertake an intense yoga practice that masks an eating disorder, and gradually find herself through her writing, a highly particular psyche comes into view: curious, tender, and exacting in her observations of herself and the world around her.
Can You Tolerate This? presents a vivid self-portrait of an introspective yet widely curious young woman, the colorful, isolated community in which she comes of age, and the uneasy tensions—between safety and risk, love and solitude, the catharsis of grief and the ecstasy of creation—that define our lives.
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by Keri Arthur
by Linda Lael Miller
by Julie Plec
by Kandy Shepherd
by Amanda Downum
by Claire Messud
by A.K. Small
by Dinaw Mengestu
by Michelle Gable
by Heda Margolius Kovaly
by Kelley Armstrong
"Narrator Saskia Maarleveld is the perfect guide to the author's contemplation of both significant and smaller moments in her life. In these personal essays, Young is lyrical, quirky, self-effacing, and amusing. Maarleveld's narration is clear, deliberate, and droll. Topics range from a conversation with a psychic stranger on a plane to a young American with a rare bone disorder and to holding Paul McCartney's hand while hiking in the hills. Several essays focus intently on the body--an eating disorder, daily yoga, indecision about removing a faint mustache, her father accidentally taking her contact lenses before piloting a small plane, and the experience of chiropractic manipulation. (The doctor periodically asks, "Can you tolerate this?") Harmony of text and voice comes into perfect focus with Maarleveld's New Zealand accent and Young's descriptions of her hometown landscape in Te Kuiti, New Zealand. A.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphone Award © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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